Pakistani doctors have their work cut out, as they battle the odds to save a newborn baby with a rare genetic condition that left him with six legs.
The week old boy is believed to be one half of parasitic twins; the other twin was born prematurely and incompletely developed, which resulted in the second child having the extra legs.
According to ColumnPK, the director of the National Institute of Child Health in Karachi, Jamal Raza, said that doctors at the institute are fighting to save the newborn, which remains in an intensive care unit ward.
Doctors are planning to operate on the boy and were considering asking for help from foreign experts with more experience in the rare disease, which afflicts just one in one million babies.
Raza clarified that the newborn did not have six legs, he had two legs and the other four belonged to the other twin:
"Operating on such a baby is not an easy task as proper assessments need to be done first.
We need to figure out whether the baby has his twin’s limbs or his own. We also need to consider how much the internal organs have developed as the latter could complicate matters and decrease the baby’s chances of surviving."
The baby's father, Imran Shaikh, who works as an X-ray technician, made a plea for help from the government and charities:
"I can’t afford to visit Karachi and get treatment for my baby. I appeal to philanthropists and the government to come forward for the treatment."
Shaikh and his wife of four years live in Sukkur, around 280 miles north of where his son is being cared for.
His wife, who is also his cousin, is reported to be recovering well from the birth and in a good state of health. Shaikh said they were planning on naming their son Umar Farooq.
Since Shaikh made his plea for assistance, the Sindh Governor has come forward and directed officials concerned to make sure the child receives all the medical care he needs.